WAILUKU - Bail was reduced to $750,000 for a Wailuku woman charged along with her live-in boyfriend with second-degree murder in the death of the man's 4-year-old son.
During her bail hearing Friday, Grace Lee-Nakamoto, 27, had requested a lower bail amount of $100,000. She has no criminal record and has family ties and a residence, said Deputy Public Defender Jim Rouse.
But First Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Robert Rivera asked that bail for Lee-Nakamoto be kept at $1 million or reduced to no less than $750,000, citing the seriousness of the offense.
GRACE LEE-NAKAMOTO, bail was reduced
Four-year-old Zion McKeown died in the early-morning hours of May 30, after he was taken to the Maui Memorial Medical Center emergency room the night before by his father, Kyle McKeown, and Lee-Nakamoto.
The boy, who was of half African-American descent, wasn't breathing, had no heartbeat and was so pale that he was thought to be Caucasian, Rivera said.
He said coroner's physician Alvin Omori, who conducted an autopsy, found injuries so severe that "it could only have been caused by high-velocity blunt-force trauma."
The boy's pancreas was compressed against his spine, and he bled to death of internal injuries, Rivera said.
"This would be consistent with stomping" or falling on the child from a significant height, Rivera said.
He said the injuries weren't consistent with the boy falling in the shower, as Lee-Nakamoto and McKeown claimed. She also claimed the boy's abdominal injuries were caused when she administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation after finding him fallen in the shower, Rivera said.
He said the boy had multiple bruises on his arms and legs, which Lee-Nakamoto claimed were caused by ant bites.
When Zion's mother, who lives on Oahu, called the night the boy was fatally injured, McKeown wouldn't let the mother speak to her son, Rivera said. He said Lee-Nakamoto got on the phone at one point and said, "You are no longer the mother. He is being punished. It is not your concern."
Lee-Nakamoto told the boy's mother not to call again, Rivera said.
He said the prosecution was disputing Lee-Nakamoto's report of only occasional alcohol use. When police executed a search warrant at the Vineyard Street apartment where Lee-Nakamoto and McKeown were living with the child, police recovered drug paraphernalia including burned tin foil indicating the use of the narcotic oxycontin, Rivera said. He said the prosecution received information that Lee-Nakamoto and McKeown used oxycontin regularly. "This defendant did show signs of being under the influence that night, according to police," Rivera said.
He also disputed representations that Lee-Nakamoto was married, had been living with her husband for a year and a half, and could return to live with him if released from jail. Lee-Nakamoto told police she had left her husband and was living with McKeown, Rivera said. He said the husband told police he had initiated divorce proceedings and packed her belongings.
Following a bail study recommendation that bail be lowered, 2nd Circuit Judge Richard Bissen reduced bail for Lee-Nakamoto to $750,000.
A Sept. 17 trial is scheduled in 2nd Circuit Family Court for Lee-Nakamoto and McKeown, who have pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder charge. McKeown is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Maui Community Correctional Center.
* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at email@example.com.